I have surrendered my salary from Easter 2014 to Easter 2015.
In planning meetings and prayer meetings, "wouldn't it be great if..." kept coming out of my mouth. The hindrances to growth at University Baptist Church (www.ubcel.org) have been melting away slowly over the years.
The governance structure has changed. The constitution has been suspended. Innovations in ministry have been supported and well received. My health and commitment to self care have improved. The vision is being cast by the people, not just the pastor. But the money was the reason why "wouldn't it be great if..." remained only wishes and dreams.
A hard look at our budget revealed that I was gobbling up more than 60% of available dollars. Salary, retirement, housing allowance, health care and social security withholds made me an expensive leader. When the vision was clearly unfolding but hindered because of salary, the Holy Spirit moved me and Naudia in separate places and times to forfeit salary.
I shared my assignment to forfeit salary with the Leadership Council and emphasized my interest in keeping the surrender from becoming a distraction. Slowly however, I've received evidence that the word is getting out. I've had to share our decision with a couple of people anyway and I may be the reason people are beginning to ask questions.
Because the questions cannot be answered as quickly as people are asking, I have committed to blogging through the next seven months. I cannot guarantee people will read the updates but recording them is important for my own sanity and health. I've never done anything like this before and need a way of processing my efforts.
I will publish the entries, though I am not specifically soliciting feedback. I need an outlet / release from what at times feels like a foolish undertaking. I need someplace to capture the thoughts that come and go more quickly than they can be implemented. I need to live out loud in a way that limits my reticence to public scrutiny and commentary. I need a place I can't hide.
Coming to a point in ministry where I need to do this is very humbling. I was supposed to be leading a thriving ministry. I was supposed to come to this church and see explosive transformation. Maybe all of those things are coming. Right now, I feel like I am watching a fuse burn where a fireworks display is supposed to be unfolding, Fuses lead someplace, don't they?
I hope this is all leading someplace in ministry. I hope this is leading someplace in Jesus.
Until Easter, I will humbly live out loud.